Women Don’t Owe You Pretty | Florence Given

Summary of: Women Don’t Owe You Pretty
By: Florence Given


Dive into the engaging summary of ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’ by Florence Given, where you will explore the reasons behind the disparity between men and women in the world of negotiation. This summary sheds light on the societal and emotional pressures that lead to women accepting less and fearing confrontation, in contrast to their male counterparts. Moreover, you will find valuable insights that address the consequences of not negotiating effectively, painting the lasting impacts that can be seen across a professional career. This book summary serves as a steppingstone to understanding the importance of negotiation and establishing effective strategies for women to get more from their careers.

The Power of Negotiation for Women in the Workplace

Women lag behind men in terms of salary, promotion, and job opportunities because they fail to effectively negotiate for themselves, especially at the beginning of their careers. Even when women negotiate, they often end up with less than men in the same situation. These early failures compound over time, leading to significant pay gaps that affect women’s standard of living after divorce. Women’s aversion to competition and fear of social disapproval are among the reasons for their underperformance in negotiations. With companies increasingly offering personalized employment packages and the negotiation game becoming more important and damaging over time, it is imperative for women to develop their negotiating skills. Women hold tighter to the conviction that hard work alone should suffice, but the evidence shows that negotiation skills are crucial for success in the workplace, especially for those juggling multiple roles and responsibilities.

The Power of Negotiation for Women

Women tend to get paid less than men, even when they perform the same job. The reason for this is that men tend to ask, demand, negotiate and fight for more, while women do not negotiate or settle for much less than men. One study on top-ranked MBA program graduates showed that men negotiated and won salary packages on average 4.3% above their first offers, but women won packages averaging only 2.7% above their first offers. This means that men got payoffs on average 59% better than those of women. In terms of salary, this means that if a man and a woman both receive an initial offer of $35,000, the man’s negotiation will have won an actual starting salary of $36,505, but the woman’s negotiating will win her only $35,945. Women need to be trained to negotiate because negotiation is essential in influencing people. Being likeable is also critically important for women because their influence increases the more they are liked. In order to retire at a salary of more than $200,000, women need to learn how to negotiate and ask for what they deserve.

Women, Negotiation, and the Pay Gap

Women are reluctant to negotiate for higher salaries, causing long-term financial setbacks in their careers. The reasons range from social messages to anxiety, leading to a significant pay gap between men and women.

Who doesn’t ask, doesn’t get, is an old saying that rings true for negotiation. However, women seem to get shortchanged in this department, as they are less likely to negotiate for higher salaries. Women lose the negotiation game before it even begins because they don’t ask. Negotiations are give and take, but women give, without taking because they are not asking. As a result, they accept what they are given. This passive acceptance only spells doom, particularly when the other side is male.

Despite 40 years of progress in the women’s movement in the United States, women still seem reluctant to negotiate successfully. This reluctance has been studied and confirmed. Men and women from quantitative research groups such as graduates from Carnegie Mellon showed quite different behaviors when they approached their first jobs. Men negotiated much more often than women, a ratio of eight times more. Consequently, the pay gap between men and women developed from the point of entry into their careers. Even a low-ball salary difference of $5,000 annually on one’s first job can lead to a half-million-dollar wealth difference during retirement.

Women face various reasons for their reluctance to negotiate. From overt punishment-related to ambitious pursuits, social messages often relay that it is risky for women who become too successful. There may be anxiety issues that cause women to choose to avoid negotiation altogether. Women don’t ask because they perceive the risks involved in displaying their competence, ensuring that their work is fairly evaluated and promoting their ambitions.

The most important thing in negotiations is asking, but women’s reluctance often affects negotiation outcomes to their disadvantage. Accepting lower pay sends a vital message about one’s self-esteem and self-judgment. However, employers are unlikely to dispute a candidate’s low self-assessment. Who knows what one is worth better than herself?

Asking for More

Women often fail to advocate for themselves due to societal, cultural, and personal reasons, resulting in fewer economic and noneconomic resources. Women’s reluctance to ask for more is influenced by their desire to avoid conflict and their perception that pushing for more is unfeminine. Additionally, women tend to score lower than men in recognizing and exploiting negotiation opportunities, and higher in locus of control scales, indicating a belief that others control their circumstances. These gender differences may be traced back to childhood, where boys and girls are treated differently, with boys being given more independence and assertiveness opportunities. Women are also often subjected to tougher stances in some situations due to social biases and prejudices that reinforce passive and subservient roles for women. As a result, women end up being left behind in terms of economic and leisure resources compared to men.

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